Washington: The US is set to impose more sanctions on Moscow over the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter using a Soviet-era nerve agent in the UK earlier this year, the State Department announced here. In a statement on Wednesday, Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the US had made this decision on Monday and accused Russia of violating international law, reports CNN.
The statement anticipated that the sanctions would go into effect around August 22 in line with the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991. Sanctions under this Act have been applied in the past against Syria for its 2013 use of chemical weapons and against North Korea for its use of VX nerve agent during the assassination of Kim Jong-un’s half brother in Malaysia. Sergei Skripal, the former Russian spy, and his daughter Yulia were hospitalised and treated for the nerve-agent attack in March. Yulia was discharged from the hospital in April, and her father in May. Unless Russia takes certain steps, a second set of penalties — more stringent than this first round — must follow, according to the international law.
The first set of sanctions target certain items the US exports to Russia that could have military uses — so-called dual use technologies. These are sensitive goods that normally would go through a case-by-case review before they are exported. With these sanctions, the exports will be presumptively denied.
Dmitry Polyanskiy, first deputy permanent representative of Russia to the UN, dismissed the sanctions in a tweet late Wednesday responding to the news, CNN reported. The UK welcomed the move. In a short statement, a government spokesperson said: “The strong international response to the use of a chemical weapon on the streets of Salisbury sends an unequivocal message to Russia that its provocative, reckless behaviour will not go unchallenged.” (IANS)